Doctor Diesel

Chipping away at fuel economy?

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DD 4I’ve not written in a while, but I thought you might like an update on my Outlander. (Disappointing fuel economy – Issue 338. Doc.) I cannot think about replacing my tyres for a while until mine need replacing (I had suggested Tony looking at alternative and more fuel economical tyres. Doc.) Despite your concerns about remapping etc., I did speak to a number of tuning companies and most thought that remapping rather than an add-on box was most worth considering, in view of the poor mpg returns on my car. After much thought, I eventually went to Herts Auto Tek in Codicote Hertfordshire, as they were reasonably placed and use Quantum remaps. They also do a 30-day money back guarantee and resetting back to manufacturers setting. 

That was all done three weeks ago, after my last mpg check on brim-to-brim fill before remapping was 38mpg. I have had two refills since and my figures were both 36mpg, which I was most disappointed with. I ignored the first week as it included a bit from before tuning, and after the second week I did ideal miles and journeys, keeping to 50mph and 70mph on motorways, and was deliberately soft footed – yet I got only 36mpg again. I have contacted Herts Auto Tek and they say this is the first time that this had happened, but they will refund my money etc. The sad thing about it is that the car goes much better than before, is seemingly smoother, and changes up much quicker, so you would naturally be thinking the car that runs much better must be more economical. (Unfortunately not! Doc.) 

Due to their annual shutdown, I won’t be taking the car back to them until September. They thought that a remap was preferable to a box set (which they do not offer anyway) as they believe that such boxes cannot replicate a full remap. I now have to think of my next action, and to even think of changing the car would be great shame, as it’s really comfortable and a joy to drive. It’s admired by everyone that sees it, but knowing its poor mpg takes away much of this, as it was intended to be my last car, and economy was a big issue. The “Which” report that I mentioned was on an Outlander with the same engine as mine, but with the manual, not the automatic ‘box, and they complained that they could not achieve the 52mpg plus stated by Mitsubishi and were only getting around 48mpg. I would be quite happy to swap cars on this basis! When you see the likes of Honda, with their new CR-V with only a 1.6 turbodiesel engine, not only out-performing my car, but getting far better mpg, I am now beginning to think that would be the car to try out. 

Tony

Hello Tony, 

Good of you to keep me updated on your struggles to get better economy out of your Outlander. It’s a pity that one of the tuning companies that you considered did not offer you a dynamometer run at a reasonable cost, as it would be interesting to know if your engine is up where it should be power-wise. I’m sorry to hear that the Quantum remap did not do anything for you, fuel economy-wise, but I can’t say that I’m all that surprised. But I do think that you need to keep things in perspective! I love to see good mpg figures and it’s always a bit disappointing when you can’t achieve them. But if you consider the actual financial aspects, and how much a year 36mpg rather than, say, 44mpg, costs you, then changing a car because of poor fuel consumption alone doesn’t make sense. In this case, over 10,000 miles a year, you’re paying out £300 a year extra for fuel over what you would at 44mpg. At 15,000 miles a year it’s £450. If you consider what you’ll pay out to any dealer to change the car, and the higher depreciation that you’ll have if you start again with a newer car, the one-off change costs are probably of the order of £1,500 to £2,000 at a very minimum in the first year alone. 

I only say this because you should stop and think, and because, as you say, it’s a very nice car, and you could change and suffer exactly the same problems with poor economy. In fact there are no cars of a comparable engine size out there – Kia Sportage, Ford Kuga, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 – where the automatic versions are showing anything much better than around 38mpg in owner “real life” mpg reports on the web. It’s a great pity that the Mitsubishi has not lived up to your expectations, and the “official” fuel figures – but then what cars do? So don’t dash into a costly car change without thinking carefully.

Forget about fuel economy for a while, give it a bit of stick from time to time, and you might see the figures steadily improving as the engine gets really well loosened up! As a final thought though, I’m getting very good reports on people using Exocet fuel additives (a friend with a Citroën C-Crosser, for example, who’s seeing a three to five mpg gain) and it would be well worth giving their PowerBoost a trial before you write the Outlander off.

Regarding alternatives, the Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC looks very good on paper and performs well, but I’m not sure that I’m happy about seeing 158bhp from just 1.6-litres, with engine longevity in mind. If you do start looking though, I’ll be interested in your impressions of the Honda CR-V with this small engine, and the latest nine-speed automatic. Best regards, 

The Doc

One Response

  1. My 2013 outlander diesel manual regularly does 36mpg round town and on runs out 45 mpg it has beaten manufacturers claims of 52mpg.l have found to always reset the trip before you start out my town driving I leave the car in Eco mode I have also found it does more to the gallon on bp ultimate diesel, yes it’s more expensive

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